Learn About Wimbledon's Suffragettes

A fascinating glimpse into local history

Actress Sheila Hancock will be taking part in a special event entitled: "Wimbledon's Radical Tradition and the suffragettes of Wimbledon".

It takes place at William Morris House on The Broadway at 7.30pm on Thursday November 22.

Councillor Peter Walker, who will chair the event, said: "I am delighted we have secured two leading authorities on the history of the Suffragettes. The actor, Sheila Hancock, who made the acclaimed BBC documentary 'Suffragette City' and Dr Diane Wilkinson, whose book 'Suffragettes in Pictures' received excellent reviews will be available at the event.”

"This year we are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the opening of William Morris House Wimbledon in 1922.

"We particularly wanted to use the anniversary to commemorate the role of the Suffragette Movement and in particular those locally who formed the Wimbledon Branch of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). Amongst those who were early pioneers was Rose Lamartine Yates who became the secretary of the Wimbledon WSPU.

"It was in Rose's house in Kingston Road that Emily Davidson stayed the night before hurling herself to death under the King’s horse at Epsom the following day."

Rose was imprisoned for her activities as were a number of other Wimbledon suffragettes including Emily Townshend. Emily presented two Burne-Jones designed windows to William Morris House that had been produced at Morris's works at Merton Abbey Mills. The windows had originally presented by Morris himself to Emily’s husband. These windows will be on display at the meeting along with other treasures owned by the house.

The event is free and organisers are anxious for all those with an interest in Morris as well as the suffragettes to attend, but tickets are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. To attend, register at wimbledonlabour@gmail.com.

Pictured right are members of the Wimbledon Branch of the Women's Social and Political Union outside their Wimbledon shop in 1912. The shop is on the site now occupied by the Odeon Cinema.

November 2, 2012

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Sheila Hancock